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  • Writer's picturemitchhorton

Life Influences

I wrote this several years ago as an idea of how all of us gradually learn about life and then must choose our pathway. We all face the same kinds of issues, though packaged differently:

I wrote this several years ago as an idea of how all of us gradually learn about life and then must choose our pathway. We all face the same kinds of issues, though packaged differently:

You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day. Your thoughts — how rare, how beautiful! God, I'll never comprehend them! (Psalm 139:15-17) (1)

I was born on Tuesday, October 7, 1958. At 8:27 AM, I breathed my first breath of life. I was born a basic barbarian with a nature of sin in my spirit and with a mind empty and clueless about life. Inherent sin marks us all, and forms the default that life goes back to as we become accountable for our actions and choices. The basic motivation sin brings us is self-centeredness, that is, putting ourselves and our needs first, and others last.

As a child I absorbed my surroundings. Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling, awakened my senses to the world around me. Through my senses I learned what was helpful or harmful, and what brought joy or pain. The influences of my father and mother set all kinds of patterns in my life. Through their influence I learned all sorts of habits. I learned to take care of myself without help, to feed, clothe, and groom myself. I learned how to communicate with others; Socially, I learned how to relate to different kinds of people and situations that life brings. I learned to fit into a world that is full of hurtful and helpful things, things that can aid life, and things that can produce great pain and challenge.

Like all of us, some of the early influences in life were good, others were hurtful, and in later years had to be broken. I was taught that there is an unseen God that reveals Himself through His Word, and that we should worship Him and honor Him with all we do.

My mother taught me to read the Bible, to pray, and to respect others and their property. She taught me to be kind to others and to treat them respectfully. My father taught me the value of honesty, integrity, and of being truthful always. He taught me to work hard, to spend my money wisely, and to tithe a tenth of my weekly earnings to God. Mom and Dad taught me by example the golden rule: do unto others what you would have them do to you.

As I aged I learned that I am responsible for all my actions and the choices they produce. In a large measure, God allows us to have what we draw to ourselves as a result of our choices. Some influences I had no control over when I was young, these influences were a part of the atmosphere of my home and family. I had to learn the difference between what was good and what was harmful. Then I had to choose to resist and change the influences that produce harmful effects in me and towards others through me. This process took decades!

On September 12, 1976, almost a month before my 18th birthday, I fully committed my life to Jesus, being restored to fellowship with Him, and then receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The principal purpose of my life changed from self-centeredness to seeking to live to please the One who redeemed my life from hell. This has been the most change producing decision I have ever made.

At age 18, six months after I gave my life to Jesus, God called me into the full time ministry of preaching His Word. Since then the passion of my life has been to obey Him. Though I fail Him often, I ask Him for His grace to help my weaknesses, and His power to enable me to fulfill His will.

He created me as an eternal human spirit. One day, He will call me to Himself to live with Him in heaven, either in the rapture of the church or through the doorway of physical death. My goal in life is to be pleasing to Him, and to hear Him speak over me the words, well done, good and faithful servant.

(1) (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

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